For shy kids about to go to camp, there are a number of things parents can do to ensure the experience is a positive and memorable one.
Parents should speak positively with their kids about the sort of experiences they will have.
“Chat it up as something that’s fun,” says Kathleen Archer, a faculty member in the NSCCs early childhood education program who has been working in the field for over 30 years.
The children will pick up on this enthusiasm and excitement and it will lead to a better camp experience if they go in with a positive frame of mind.
It seems natural that parents will tell their children how much they are going to miss them while they are away, but this can create an unintended side effect.
“It lays a little guilt on the child,” says Archer.
“If children feel they are being missed, then they feel that their parents are not happy when they’re gone,” she adds. “They’re going to be less likely to look forward to going to a camp.”
It’s also important for parents to not talk about the things that they will be doing while the kids are away.
“If they think that wonderful or exciting things are going on while they are at camp, that can make them feel a little hesitant about going,” says Archer.
Perhaps most importantly, the camp should align with the child’s interests, says Jane Cawley, the executive director of the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education.
“If your child is doing things they like to do, they are going to be happy, relaxed and then the opportunity to make friends with sort of like-minded people will certainly be more optimal than if you throw a child that loves be running around and always active… into a computer camp,” she says.